A series of hard hitting road safety billboards will shortly appear on the Region’s roads to remind holiday drivers to take extra care.
The aim is to reduce the annual road carnage of the festive season as families drive to the beach and holiday destinations.
The stark black and white billboards warn us of the danger of tail gating, driving too fast, passing unsafely or distractions such as using cell phones or changing radio channels while driving.
Regional Road Safety Committee Chairman David Peart said people generally saw themselves as law abiding, considerate drivers in control of their vehicles.
“But pre-occupied by the prospect of fun and good times ahead or tired from the stress of Christmas preparations, drivers are frustrated at the numbers on the roads and act accordingly, invariably with dire consequences.
“They don’t realise that they often have a false idea of their own abilities, which leads to careless and irresponsible driving - a major factor contributing to trauma on New Zealand roads,” he said.
“Every year numerous families are torn apart, lives end prematurely or are scarred for life and the festive season is remembered for the grief caused instead of the good times. People think it will happen to someone else, but it is quite likely to happen to you.”
So far this year on the nation’s roads 377 people have died, compared with 408 at the same time last year. Numbers are likely to increase as the volume of drivers on the road travelling long distances increases.
In the Waikato there were 37 fatalities, 19 from Waikato District alone. Last year there were 54 fatalities, 16 from Waikato District.
“We’re all guilty of having a close call at some time or another. It’s those little slip-ups and lapses of judgement that largely contribute to the number of accidents and fatalities on New Zealand roads - driving too fast, loss of concentration, poor observation, careless overtaking and inconsiderate slow driving.
“We all have to take responsibility for our actions while driving, and this billboard campaign aims to remind us of that and the need to be more thoughtful and considerate of others, realistic and attentive. Drivers kill and are killed needlessly and the cost to society is enormous, and all for the want of a little self-discipline.”
Environment Waikato is working with Police, Transit NZ, Accident Compensation Commission and Land Transport Safety Authority to reduce the road toll over the summer.
“But we all wish people could take more care, for their own sake and that of their loved ones,” Cr Peart said.